Category Archives: Performance

How Do Musicians Really Earn Their Living? by Hisham Dahud

Screen shot 2012-03-26 at 12.06.16 AM

The Future of Music Coalition has released data from its Artist Revenue Streamsresearch project, where financial case studies drawing from 4-12 years of accounting data provide information about how musicians are making a living today. These five case studies provide a financial profile of different types of full-time musicians. Each case study graphs and explains the musician-based sources of income over time, and the results tell a lot about the state of today’s music industry.

(click on chart above to enlarge)

The case studies reflect the working lives and income streams of five different types of full-time musicians:

  1. Jazz Bandleader-Composer
  2. Indie Rock Composer-Performer
  3. Jazz Sideman-Bandleader
  4. Professional Orchestra Player
  5. Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

The reports include annual revenue pies, a look at income versus expenses, and net profit over time. Some case studies also include more detailed breakdowns, such as PRO royalties by territory, or session work by bandleader. Using data compiled from individual artists’ tax returns, Quicken files and PRO royalty statements, the case studies offer a deep look into how real musicians and composers earn their living.

Key Findings

For musicians that perform (which the majority of those studied consisted of), live performance is the essential revenue stream. In nearly every instance, a performing musician’s annual income is highly dependent on the number of shows they played. Live performance is not only important because it is a creative choice (all of the subjects indicated that they enjoy playing music for live audiences), but because it is also a controllable source of income.

That income, however, comes with significant expenses attached, as touring expenses can often exceed touring income. Moreover, these expenses are not scalable, and as the more active a band becomes, the more money must be spent on travel, promotion, sidemen, etc… Other revenue streams that the case studies incorporate, such as teaching and session work, appear much more stable in the sense that they have fewer expenses attached.

Another finding was that label advances and grants do not indicate direct revenue. Two of the case study artists have received significant grants or advances related to recording projects. In both of those cases, all of the money was spent to make their records. Some of the records even cost more than the advances or grants provided, meaning that the artist needed to invest income earned through other means to complete the recording project.

More findings showed that performers leverage their performances to earn money in other ways. With live performances being the main platform for artists, all of the case study artists who make recordings sell their CDs to audiences after their shows. For the indie rock composer-sideman for instance, selling CDs on the road was nine percent of his income in 2010, and 22 percent in 2011.

One more significant finding was that some revenue streams are time delayed, but pay off year after year. Unlike live performance fees that are incurred typically right away, income earned by compositions pay off over time. For instance, the indie rock composer-sideman earned public performance royalties for songs he composed with MainBand #1 steadily, even four or five years after the recordings were released. The jazz sideman has continued to receive PRO royalties for a song he composed for a film in 2001. Compositions have a life of their own and once it’s published, it can be licensed or performed repeatedly all over the world, resulting in income over time.

Why Study Musician Revenue?

These studies are significant because they help paint a “real world” picture of what it is like to earn a living as a musician in an industry dramatically transformed from what it once was only a decade ago. While technological breakthroughs such as the emergence of the digital music store, the rise of social media, and music streaming services have certainly made it easier for musicians to distribute their music and connect with their fans, sources of revenue have seemed to funnel to only a select few key areas.

For aspiring musicians, it’s important that they get a firm financial understanding of what it really means to make a living in today’s music business, and to plan accordingly. The information can help tomorrow’s artists get a clearer idea of what they will have to do, the lifestyles they need to plan ahead for, and the sacrifices they need to endure in order to make ends meet through their music. For more seasoned musicians, these case studies can only affirm how the industry has changed in regards to primary revenue sources, and how they must continue to adapt in order to not be left behind.

SOURCE:
How Do Musicians Really Earn Their Living?


Income Solutions for Independent and Major Label Artists

Owen Husney, a manager, talks about income streams for artists. He explains that while artists may not receive money from record labels, there are other methods to get paid. Touring and merchandising are major areas. Also, if the artist writes their own songs, they can make publishing monies. The performers can also make record royalties. Husney mentions licensing monies as well, which are from licensing songs for film and television. Also in this segment, Husney discusses the common monetary trap of artists. Many artists overlook the fact that they have to pay the record label back.


Music Industry Survival Manual: 13 Different Ways To Make Money From Your Songs

FREE .PDF Download of the TuneCore Music Industry Survival Manual. Everyone needs this vital information.

Click to download Volume 2.1 WAYS TO MAKE MONEY

SOURCE:
http://blog.tunecore.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/13ways-booklet.pdf


Importance of Touring, Musical cycles & Authenticity w/ Music

Skepta & @Amarudontv talk about the importance of perfoming as a artists, not being concerned about musical trends on the radio & authenticity in the music you create to keep the connection with your fans + more.


Advice for Touring Musicians


Advice for Being a Successful Artist

Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine offers advice to aspiring artists on how to lay the groundwork for a long and successful career in the music industry of tomorrow.


IT’S OFFICIALLY EASIER TO REACH REAL INDUSTRY TALK

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Want To Make $50,000 a Year In Music? Start With One Dollar a Day. BY: CHRIS SETH JACKSON

Photo by Glen Edelson

A big part of my blog, How To Run A Band, is to figure out how to actually make money with music. However, I’ve been talking about giving music away for free, buying fancy tablets, and paying for web hosting. If you look at my “financials” page, you’ll notice a downward trend in money for my guinea pig band Shiplosion.

How does a musician make money? Honestly, I don’t know for certain. But, I think I have a couple of ideas. However, these ideas are based more on the individual musician, and not the band as a whole. Why? The individual can make more money and have more control over their finances than an entire band.

Start Earning One Dollar A Day

Photo by rychlepozicky.com

Every day, grab an acoustic guitar and head down to the street corner. Start playing songs and singing with the case open to take tips. Don’t stop until you have at least one dollar.

There you go. $365 for the year.

Are you a drummer? Grab some drums and set up shop on that street corner. I’ve seen kids playing with buckets busking for money. There’s no reason a drummer with a minimal drum kit can’t do the same. (Even though we all know drummers are “special”…)

“$365 a year? That sucks!”, you say.

Yep, that does suck. But that’s $365 more a year than you were previously earning. Being in a band over a 6 year period, I’ve lost way more than $365. Busking every day will earn you more than my band that was playing multiple cities in multiple states 3 days a week for 6 years.

But earning a dollar a day is not the end goal. Once you can successfully earn one dollar a day, how much effort will it take to get to $2 a day? Maybe busk at one additional location? Do some cover tunes? Play for 30 more minutes?

“But I feel like a hippy dumbass. Isn’t this for homeless drug users and not the awesome caliber of musician that I am?”, you ask. (Okay, I asked but pretended it was you.)

If you don’t feel comfortable doing something, don’t do it. However, there’s money on the table that you are ignoring. If you are on tour, busking could be the deciding factor for being able to afford dinner or gas money. Or, more importantly, beer money.

Busking also gives you the coldest, most disinterested crowd on Earth. What better way to learn how to be positive and entertaining regardless of the situation? And if you think you are too great of a musician to resort to busking, I’d say it’s about time you learned some humility. If you’re not completely self-sufficient as a musician, there is plenty of humility yet to be had.

Sweeten The Deal

Photo by Clyde RobinsonYou are now comfortably earning a couple of dollars a day. Now it’s time to turn it up a notch. Create an acoustic CD to sell with your busking.

Don’t go crazy on this. In fact, I’d argue you record, mix, and master it yourself. As cheaply as possible. Your busking isn’t your main musical career, but an additional revenue source. Use CDBaby to print out a limited run of CDs.

With the addition of CD sales, you are now making $5 to $10 a day. You also have an extra CD to add to the merch booth of your main band.

See the pattern?

Start small and constantly add value and content. Don’t overlook small price points. 25 cents from a few thousand people adds up. There is no purchase too small.

Do it every day. Daily. Every day is an opportunity. It’s yours to have or not.

YouTube Busking

Photo by codenamecueballPhysically busking in one area is limited to only that one city and the people only walking by at that particular time. YouTube is global and timeless. Record yourself playing your music daily and throw it out to the world on YouTube. Hell, record yourself while you’re busking on the street.

At the end of your YouTube busking, add a call to action. Give a link to your website and ask for 25 cents. On your site, provide people a way to donate a small amount of money to you. PayPal has options for micro transactions. Use it! The good ol’ long tail theory could net you a bit of cash over the life of this YouTube post.

On top of the daily busking, this additional outlet “could” provide additional revenue. It’s not guaranteed it will, though, so be prepared. However, make your videos interesting enough, you can gain a large following. At that point, you can become a “YouTube Partner” and earn money through ads.

Breaking Down The Numbers

So, doing the above, you’re going to be earning about $5 to $10 a day. You’re going to bitch and whine that that’s impossible to live off of. What you’re not realizing is that I just taught you how to make around $1825 to $3650 extra a year on your music.

It’s not glamorous. It’s not sexy. But it’s money in your pocket.

But, I know you are not satisfied. You want to quit your job. I’m with you on this. I wish I could quit mine. I’m not there yet. However, we need to know the numbers that we need to achieve to quit our day jobs. For me, I’d like $50,000 a year. I’ll use this number to calculate what it would take to be a financially independent musician.

$50,000 divided by 365 days = $137 a day.

That’s it. Earn $137 a day, and you can quit your day job. You are a fraction of the way there using the above techniques, but you will definitely need more money per day to accomplish this task. This figure shows why you can’t entirely rely on your band by itself to generate the income you need.

Your Band Won’t Make The Dough

This point I know you will rail against. “My band will make it! We will become famous.” That’s your ego talking and not your brain. Your band will most likely, by itself, not produce the money you need to get by.

WhiteI was following one of the members of GWAR on Twitter. I was surprised to find that he is a bartender after the GWAR tours end. GWAR packs an awesome crowd at venues and has been doing so for 25 years. Still…bartender. One of his tweets was “I always wanted to be rich and famous. I have one of the two.”

Here’s the breakdown. Let’s say your band plays every weekend, twice a week. That’s 104 shows a year. For you, personally, to make $50,000 a year, you’d need to make $481 a show. Now add your band mates that also want to make $50,000 a year. Total, the band would need to make $1924 a show. Yikes!

Even if you played every day of the year, your band would need to profit $548 per show for everyone to get paid. For every additional person in your band, that is another multiplier to the base salary and profit considerations. That 8 piece Ska band doesn’t sound so thrilling now, does it?

The point is, relying solely on your band to make you a financially independent musician is not feasible. The band is just one more revenue source for you. You need multiple, musical revenue sources to get where you need to be.

You Are Your Own Income Stream

On nights your band isn’t playing, you could hit up open mic nights. Bring your CDs along. Perform and sell. Give lessons for your instrument. I think the going rate for a half hour lesson is about $30. Giving a lesson a day at this price will get you over $10,000 a year. Add the busking, and you are approaching $14,000 a year.

Exclusive Merchandise

Instead of all this daily working, what if you had some merchandise to sell that could do the trick? Easy. Get 365 avid fans. For them, make 365 items that cost $137. These items should be limited edition and never, ever hit the market again. There’s your $50,000.

Fan Base

Or, in the above example, just get 365 fans that are willing to pay $137 on you over the course of a year. Expand that to the popular 1000 True Fans model, and you would need to have each fan pay $50 a year. Do you have $50 worth of content, merchandise, or shows for the year?

This is why growing your e-mail list and treating e-mail like money is so important. Giving away a free CD for an e-mail can net you a positive income flow over a few year period. That network of fans can give you what you need to be successful. If you can grow that e-mail list to 50,000 people, all you would need is $1 a year from each person to quit that day job.

Exhaust All Possibilities

Busking. YouTubing. Lessons. What else can you do? Guitar tabs for 99 cents. Adsense for your free songs. PayPal donations.

What else? Do you have ideas on what can generate money on a daily basis? I think my ideas above could get an artist up to $10,000 a year. What would push it to $50,000?

SOURCE:
Want To Make $50,000 a Year In Music? Start With One Dollar a Day.


Musicians Earn What???? BY Sherrill Fulghum

Artist Poster
Pay me what I’m worth

It was not too long ago that a music fan could walk into an actual record (or music) store and peruse thousands of record albums, CDs, and singles; but today almost the only place to find an actual CD in the United States is at a live concert or the used book sale at the local library.

Currently most of the music purchased in the United States comes from digital downloads. The Daily Swarm has released some startling statistics on just what it takes for a musician to make a living in the music business.

When a musician or a band has a deal with a record company, the artist receives seven to 10 percent of each album or CD sold. With digital download services the artist receives about nine cents per song.

In the US there is a national minimum wage for workers of $7.25 per hour (some areas pay more). This translates into $1,160 per month before taxes. For artists to earn the same amount as a minimum wage worker, they would have to sell 1,161 physical CDs, 1,299 digitally downloaded albums, or 12,399 singles.

And when it comes to audio streaming services, it can take anywhere from 849,817 plays to over four million plays to make the same amount of money. What makes this even more difficult is that the various audio streaming and digital download services are not available everywhere.

Emusic is available in 27 countries

iTunes is available in 23 countries

YouTube is available in 21 countries

Vodafone is available in 17 countries

7Digital is available in 16 countries

Spotify is available in 12 countries

Last.fm is available in 10 countries

Amazon is available in six countries

Deezer is available in four countries

Pandora and Rhapsody are available in only one country

These numbers do not take into account the number of hours an artist or a band spends practicing each day, the time spent writing songs, and recording those songs. For many musicians the only real source of an income is by touring and some bands spend more time on the road then they do at home trying to survive making music. And just because the concert figures reach into the millions, the artist does not get most of it; that goes to the venue, roadies, technicians, lighting and sound engineers, and any number of “expenses”.

Like the best selling writers, there is a very small percentage of musicians who regularly make millions each year from touring and album sales; while the majority strive to eek out a living,

Making music can be fun but for the professional musician it is also a lot of hard work that often times shows very little in physical return.

SOURCE:
Musicians Earn What????


Money For Performances By Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec

Money For Performances – ASCAP

By Todd Brabec, ASCAP Executive VP of Membership and Jeff Brabec

One of the largest sources of income for songwriters, composers and music publishers is the money received for performances of a writer’s work on radio, television and cable stations, concert halls, wired music services, websites and other outlets for music. These monies – over 4 billion dollars worldwide – are collected by performing right organizations (PROs) in all major countries of the world and are based on the Copyright Law – a law which recognizes that a writers creation is a property right and that permission and a payment must be made, in most cases, when it is used.

The monies from this area can be substantial. For example, a #1 song can easily generate over $1,000,000 in a few short years with a successful TV series theme song earning well over $100,000 a year in worldwide writer and publisher earnings.

Writers and publishers join a PRO, which in turn, negotiates license fee agreements with the users of music, collects the money and pays it back to writers and publishers based on surveys of performances of the works performed in the many areas licensed (radio, TV, etc).

The largest PRO in the world is writer and publisher owned ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). In addition to the collection and payment of royalties and worldwide representation, member benefits include musical instrument, studio and tour liability insurance, health insurance, discounts on musical instruments and equipment, a credit union and much more.

© 2007 Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec
For more information, check out the book Music, Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide To Making Money In The Music Business (Schirmer Trade Books/Music Sales/502 pages) available for sale at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Music Sales Group and http://www.musicandmoney.com.

SOURCE:
Money For Performances By Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec


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